Nike Drops 'Offensive' 4th July-Themed Sneaker after Colin Kaepernick Complains
American flag-theme shoe gets canceled following complaint from anti-Trump ex-NFL star
Nike has canceled a Fourth of July-themed patriotic sneaker for Independence Day because anti-Trump ex-NFL star Colin Kaepernick found the Betsy Ross flag design "offensive," according to reports.
Nike's Air Max 1 USA shoe was scheduled to be released on Wednesday ahead of the celebrations for July 4th.
Kaepernick, who is known for originating the kneeling protest against the national anthem during NFL games, reportedly told the famous shoe company that the flag, with thirteen stars, was a symbol for slavery that offended many.
"Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag," a spokeswoman for the company said.
Images of the sneaker design can still be found on social media:
Citing people familiar with the matter, a report by the Wall Street Journal stated:
“After images of the shoe were posted online, Mr. Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery.”
In response, a Nike spokeswoman told the Journal:
“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag.”
According to Fox News, the sneaker originally was slated to be released on Monday, and posts hyping its release said it would cost $140.
Kaepernick, the former quarterback who famously kneeled during the National Anthem starting in 2016, was named as the face of Nike’s latest “Just Do It” campaign last year.
Nike was heavily criticized on social media for signing the controversial former NFL quarterback for a multi-million dollar marketing campaign.
After the announcement, Nike’s stock initially fell more than 3 percent, before online sales increased.
A report from Edison Trends said the company’s online sales grew 31 percent the week the campaign was launched.
The surge was stronger than the 17 percent increase recorded last year during the same period, the report stated.
“There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales but the data does not support that theory,” the company said in a statement.